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NBA 2006

Wins Against Detroit Show Jazz's True Potential

The basketball season heads into 2006 with lots to look forward to -- Detroit Pistons will make a run at 70 wins, LeBron James continues to grow dramatically, and the Phoenix Suns with point guard Steve Nash are doing just fine while Amare mends. But the thing that caught my eye is that the Jazz are in first place in the incredibly week Northwest Division.

Utah Jazz
How has this happened? I thought the Jazz were in the dumps just a few games ago, but a 6-1 run, corresponding with the stellar play of Andrei Kirilenko, has turned things around. With strong rebounding efforts by Mehmet Okur, fundamentally sound bigs Jarron Collins & Greg Ostertag, and promising young guards Milt Palacio and Deron Williams, you can see that this team has the makings of a giant slayer. And don't forget that coach Jerry Sloan is still one of the brightest minds in basketball. It's an unorthodoxed team that mimics its star Andrei Kirilenko -- score, block shots, rebound, dish, or a pick, it's just about what needs to be done at the time -- and as long as he stays healthy, a big if, the Jazz are a team to be reckoned with.

Phoenix Suns
What kind of job have the Suns and Steve Nash done while waiting for Amare Stoudemire's return? The Suns management saw what they had -- a unique floor general who just gives the team what it needs. What a perfect opportunity to do a little creative destruction to add more rebounding and defense at the expense of a little offense. I can't wait to see what the Suns will do in the last few months. Honestly, they look to be the only team in the West who can take on the San Antonio Spurs.

Top Five
Detroit Pistons -- We know the story. Hope they can get 70 wins.
San Antonio Spurs -- We know this story as well. They look a little lost as of late, but are still 7-3 over the last ten.
Phoenix Suns -- Coming on strong. Look for more success.
Dallas Mavericks -- Just plodding along as a tough second tier team. They still have a lot to prove and a long winning streak would do it. Enough of this 7-3 over the last ten stuff.
New Jersey Nets -- Wow, from a 9-12 to 19-12 record. They are the hottest team in the NBA and their back court gives every opponent fits. What's next? Run away with the Atlantic and get ready for the playoffs.